The late Paul Newman revelled in his marital fidelity to Joanne Woodward with the quip: "Why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home?" Why? Why go out for a burger? Because burgers are great. Especially slathered in onions, cheese and bacon next to a salted heap of chips and washed down with a few cold beers. A pretty rubbish paean to monogamy, then, Paul.
Now, if he'd changed the word "hamburger" to the word "Subway", he'd have had himself a metaphor. While he was about it, he could also have changed the word "steak" for the word "nothing" and he'd still have reduced traffic through the divorce courts.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't get Subway. I don't get why it is named after dank, urban latrines, nor how you're supposed to eat them with a human-sized mouth. But I think I have rumbled its advertising. It's basically a reworking of the old Hamlet campaign, which, for the benefit of younger readers, portrayed chaps encountering a spot of bother and taking solace in a cheap cigar. It was funny. In the Subway (3) ads, the spot of bother becomes a moment of humiliation, but the victim is told not to worry because "There's a Sub for that". They have slightly amusing moments, but the idea that a doughy behemoth packed with reformed meat and watery tomatoes will buck you up is pretty unconvincing. For a face-saving snack, you'd be better off slapping some ketchup on a Hamlet.
At the yummier end of consumption, we find Cadbury (6) telling us it uses Fairtrade cocoa beans. It has shot a promo in an African village featuring Tinny, who, I can assure you with the easy confidence of a man with Google to hand, is one of Ghana's premier Ga rappers. It's delivered with great aplomb and a cut-down version has run as an ad. There has been some debate, not least within these pages, about whether this is a budget sensibly deployed. On balance, I think it's inspired.
There's a new football game out, called Fifa 10, by EA Sports (4). It's big news and it's advertised in a great big ad, with big, big stars and lots and lots of massive, footbally bigness. As the World Cup looms, one wonders how the major players in the tournament (no, silly, not the footballers), Nike, Adidas, Sony, Coca-Cola et al, will keep upping the ante. Football advertising seems to have reached a scale of spend, frenzy and bombast beyond reckoning. Maybe someone clever will make the excitement personal, real and credible for a change. Just a wistful thought.
It can't be easy to recruit for the armed forces against a daily backdrop of self-sacrificial courage and flag-draped coffins. In its press campaign, the RAF (1) has chosen to tell stories of military derring-do in the style of the old action comics that used to be full of plucky Tommies hurling grenades into German pillboxes and shouting: "Take that, Fritz!" That seemed very entertaining when I was ten, but I struggle a bit with the current conflict being depicted that way.
The ad from NHS (2) Birmingham East and North features a man being beaten to a bloody death by an invisible assailant to represent the battering your body endures if you smoke. It's meant to be horrible and it is. But will it frighten smokers? My uncle died in a cancer ward three years ago among men in varied states of wheezing, rattling, gasping decline. The first thing visiting smokers did when they left this terrible place was light up.
Ancestry.co.uk (5) is a website on which you can track down your forebears. In its TV ad, characters from the past haunt the modern world and plead with us to find them. My desire to leave you uplifted and amused is somewhat scuppered by the fact that it's rather sad. Sorry.
CREATIVE - Paul Williams, creative on the Cannes gold-winning Army 'road traffic accidents' campaign, Golley Slater Cardiff
I am writing this Private View from the heart of Cardiff and with much trepidation. History is littered with Welshmen who've come a cropper when mixing it up with London folk. For example, Dafydd ap Gruffudd and his gruesome disemboweling in 1283, and, of course, Ron Davies, the Welsh MP who came unstuck on Clapham Common in another alleged bowel-tampering incident.
So, with my career and innards on the line, let's open with Cadbury (6). It's set in the heart of Ghana and features reams of locals, a Ghanaian rapper and a massive floating head. Now, is it me or has advertising become unnecessarily complicated? Is this a music video? An ad for chocolate? Is it a Ghanaian tourist board commercial or is it promoting Cadbury's Fairtrade policy? Individually, it doesn't do any of the above particularly well and neither does it stack up very well as a collective. I do like the floating head, though.
EA Sports' (4) latest offering is a footballing epic created to highlight the huge online appeal of Fifa 10. I love the pace of the ad and it's a joy to look at, but the idea of a million kicks, a million saves, a million ... feels like it was written by a planner, and the voiceover, with its stream of jokey similes, sounds like it was written by Del Trotter. Still, the game looks fantastic and I can't wait to play it.
I love these print ads for the RAF (1). They're a creative's dream. Advertise a career where you get to fly planes and helicopters and execute it using your favourite comic styles from the 50s/60s. The problem is they're trying to recruit people who weren't born until 1995, so they may not be as effective as they are cool.
Subway's (3) latest creative tells us that it offers so many sand- wich combinations that there's a "Sub" for every situation. The ad is OK, but it feels a bit like an advertising "cut and shut", in that the front bears little resemblance to the back. Do they have a Sub for that?
The NHS (2) viral features a smoker, having a puff on the street, when he is suddenly battered to the ground by an invisible foe, which in this instance turns out to be cigarettes and the damage they can do to your body. I really wanted this to be good - dream brief and all that - but while the ad is very arresting and nicely put together, the message seems too simplistic for a modern smoker. Smokers have been bombarded with some impressive ads over the years and I'm not sure that a basic analogy such as this will make a difference.
I like this ad for Ancestry.co.uk (5), but I am a sucker for all things historical. It features a cast of quaint figures from the past milling around in our everyday lives just waiting to be found by their descendants. It neatly sums up the brand offering and creates the illusion that we may all hail from a dynasty of highly romanticised historical figures, which I like the sound of - I do, after all, come from a long line of South Walian cockle pickers.
So there it is. Another Welshman spills his guts.
Project: Be part of the story
Client: David Ogden, RAF head of marketing, COI
Brief: Showcase the value of the RAF through its people to inspire
thousands of young men and women to join
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren
Writer: Jon Elsom
Art director: Keith Terry
Exposure: National press, magazines
Project: Fight back
Client: Catherine Tomaney, head of stop smoking service, NHS Birmingham
East and North
Brief: Drive hardened smokers to pharmacies to sign up to smoking
Agency: Dr Foster
Writer: Huw Rowlands
Art director: n/s
Directors: Rankin and Chris
Production company: HSI
Project: We've got a sub for that
Client: Alex Cacouris, head of marketing, Subway
Brief: Build on Subway's points of difference versus the competition:
fresh ingredients and a hugely customisable product offering
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: Mike Oughton
Art director: Gary Marjoram
Director: Nick Jones
Production company: Another Film Company Exposure: TV, print
4. EA SPORTS
Project: How big can football get?
Client: Neil Lambert, campaign manager; Daniel Green, advertising
director, EA Sports
Brief: Show the world just how big football can get on a global level
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Writer: Rick Chant
Art director: Barney Hobson
Director: Johnny Green
Production company: Knucklehead
Exposure: TV, print, online, out-of-home
Project: Brand campaign
Client: Ancestry UK
Brief: Present Ancestry.co.uk as an amazing place where people can
discover their ancestors and imagine what life was like for them
Agency: Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer
Writer: Al Moseley
Art director: John Messum
Director: Barney Cokeliss
Production company: RSA Films
Exposure: National TV
Client: Phil Rumbol, marketing director, Cadbury Dairy Milk
Brief: Celebrate Cadbury Dairy Milk's move to Fairtrade
Writers/art directors: Filip Tyden, Dan Watts, Chris Bovill, John
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Production company: Rattling Stick
Exposure: National TV